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Transportation Conformity Highlights

April 2008

Prepared by the Office of Natural and Human Environment Federal Highway Administration

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Announcements

CMAQ Provisions of the Energy Independence and Security Act (Energy Act).FHWA issued a list of Questions & Answers regarding a number of issues raised concerning the Federal share of CMAQ projects obligated during FY 2008 and FY 2009. The bottom line is that States retain the flexibility provided in 23 USC 120(i) to contribute an amount in excess of the traditional 20% non-Federal share of a project under Title 23. Consequently, CMAQ projects that are in the planning or implementation phases that are programmed for less than the standard 80 percent Federal share can move forward. While the Energy Act provided for CMAQ funds to be used for up to 100 percent Federal share for FY 2008 and FY 2009, the Energy Act did not affect the States discretion to require a local match greater than the standard 20 percent. For more information, contact Michael.koontz@dot.gov.

EPA Proposes Revised Air Quality Standards for Lead. On May 1, 2008 EPA proposed to revise the nation's air quality standards for lead for the first time in 30 years. The proposal recommends tightening the primary standard to protect public health by 80 to 93 percent. It would revise the existing standard of 1.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air to a level within the range of 0.10 to 0.30 micrograms per cubic meter. The agency is taking comment on alternative levels within a range from less than 0.10 to 0.50 micrograms per cubic meter. EPA is proposing that the secondary standard, to protect the environment, be identical to the primary standard. EPA will accept public comment for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold two public hearings on June 12, 2008: one in St. Louis and one in Baltimore. EPA must issue a final decision on the lead standard by Sept. 15, 2008. Details about the proposal and public hearing information is available at: http://www.epa.gov/air/lead

EPA Approves Tulsa Ozone Flex Agreement. On April 8, the EPA announced its approval of a new air quality plan for the Tulsa, OK area under its 8-hour Ozone Flex (8-03Flex) program. The 8-03Flex program allows communities that are currently meeting the national standard for ozone to implement proactive, voluntary measures that will reduce emissions of ozone-causing pollutants to improve air quality and stay within federal requirements. The Tulsa 8-03Flex agreement will involve implementing five projects over the next year, including a Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority Clean Diesel Retrofit Project. Additionally, Terra Nitrogen a manufacturer of nitrogen fertilizer products will voluntarily install ultra-low nitrogen oxide burners on one of its ammonia reformers. The $2 million project is expected to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 425 tons per year. The agreement will not prevent the region from being designated as a nonattainment area under the new ozone standard but is expected to help the area reduce ozone and reach the revised standard sooner. Additional information on the 8-hour ozone flex program is available at: http://www.epa.gov/region6/6pd/air/pd-l/index.htm.

Northern Transportation and Air Quality Summit to be held August 13-15. The FHWA and EPA Regions 1, 2, and 3 are co-sponsoring the Summit along with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association, the Mid-Atlantic Diesel Collaborative, and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. The Summit is for transportation and air quality staff at the Federal, State and local levels and others involved in transportation and air quality issues. The Summit will be held at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore. For more information, see: www.marama.org/ntaqs.

Reminders

EPA Releases Final Conformity Rule.On January 24 the final transportation conformity rule which implements the Clean Air Act amendments adopted in 2005 under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) was published in the Federal Register. The SAFETEA-LU changes have been implemented through a joint EPA-DOT interim guidance issued on February 14, 2006. This final rule replaces the interim guidance except for the portions that address the conformity SIP or the TCM substitution and addition. Until EPA issues revised guidance on these topics, the interim guidance is still relevant. For further information and a copy of the rule, see: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/conf-regs.htm. The rule is effective on February 25, 2008.

Training Opportunities

Introductory MOVES Training at International Emissions Inventory Conference.June 2, Portland, OR. EPA will be offering a course called "Introduction to EPA's Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator" at the 17th Annual International Emission Inventory Conference in Portland, Oregon on June 2, 2008. This is a brief (about 4 hours) hands-on introduction to the basics of MOVES including how to create a Run Specification, how to run the model and how to work with model output. It will be based on the existing highway vehicle demonstration version of MOVES posted on EPA's MOVES web page (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/ngm.htm.). Details on the International Emission Inventory Conference, including information on how to register for the conference and how to sign up for courses can be found at the conference web site: http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/conference/ei17/index.html. The conference program (http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/conference/ei17/prelimprogram.pdf) includes a more complete description of the MOVES course, as well as a description of a basic course in the use of EPA's NMIM modeling system. Additional MOVES training classes are in the planning stages for late 2008 and early 2009.

FHWA Resource Center Training Activities. FHWA's Resource Center Air Quality Technical Services Team is available to offer air quality-related training opportunities and information is available at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/airquality/courses.cfm. For further information, contact: Mike Roberts at 404-562-3928 or at Michael.Roberts@dot.gov.

If you have any suggestions for future monthly conformity highlights, please email: ssiwek@aol.com.

FHWA Resource Center Air Quality Team Contacts:
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/airquality/index.cfm.

Updated: 07/10/2014
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